Disclaimer: ‘Hello, you have reached Toshiba_san; she is not available to be sued at this time, please refer to her past usage of disclaimers where she has repeated stated that she does not own DBZ for further information. Have a nice day!’

Note: Sex, violence, sweating; they might not be in there, but if these topic offend you then don’t read this. Also note that there is a very odd writing scheme with one of the scenes, basically me trying to experiment, so Bulma's thoughts and perceptions are written in italics and Vegeta's are bold to avoid some of the confusion with who is thinking or narrating.

 

Chapter Two

 

At the cusp of dawn he had begun preparing himself for the coming match, waking from his slumber with the ease of a seasoned soldier, even as his mind and body still begged for a few more hours; the magic this place held was starting to work on him. Taking the necessary stretches to rid his muscles of the various clinks that came from sleeping on the ground, he assessed the damage to his wounded shoulder. Roiling it out, he smirked to himself, finding it as strong and limber as ever, the magic water had indeed made it but a sore memory, maybe he would thank the nymph for the use of the water, and request a vessel to take more of it with him. Methodically, he began to test his weapons, particularly the new short sword that had appeared without warning or preamble back at his camp after he had returned from the spring, the blade cutting through the air with an almost musical resonance. Something else he would probably have to thank his little nymph for, he almost mumbled to himself, then stopped when the weight of his words, and the images they conjured up, filled his mind. A low growl vibrated from his throat and he snapped at himself, he could not have such lapses, not today on all days, and certainly not over a pair of long legs and deep blue eyes. His thoughts since the previous night had suffered much the same jumbled fate, that focus and drive he had worked so hard to achieve shattered, or maybe preoccupied was a better word. Throughout his travels, he had lived and dreamed of the possibility of his great destiny, to see Olympus, now that he was so close the feeling was compounded all the more, those hopes and visions of his life with the gods invading his dreams. That was not the only thing that had bothered him as he washed himself in the great river, washing off any sign of his scent before making the last preparations to begin; giving one last look to the rushing river on his right, the sight giving him no peace at all. He still could not get that woman out of his mind, though considering the state he had been left in, that only added to his frustration and lack of focus. When this contest was finished he was going to have to find some kind of physical distraction to get her out of his system.

Packing up the meagre encampment that had been a constant companion on his journeys; the simplest of things to satisfy his needs, he mentally cursed himself for even admitting the weakness of physical desire when a challenge was before him. There would be time enough when he had joined with the gods to enjoy the finer things at his own discretion, but that would all come to not if he could not even reach them. Satisfied that he was ready, he began to walk back towards the coast to wait for the coming of the sun.

Slipping through the thick, wild brush of the interior forests, he revelled in the simple savagery of the place, truly wild and wondrous, this sanctuary created by his father and Zeus, though why for nothing more than a woman he would never understand. When he had first arrived on the strange island, walking about and taking in every detail that crossed his eyes, he was awe struck but the natural beauty of the place. The mammoth trees: cedar, pines and thick conifers stood like an impenetrable wall against the threats of nature and of man, protecting the lush valleys and peaceful woodlands within. How rugged the coast line around the island was, rock carved by the constant force of his father's will, the sea and the reefs around it harsh enough to keep even the most fool hearted mortal from her shores. Still in the dark grey sky of predawn, the island was blanketed by a thick fog that had roiled in off the ocean, the airy soup twisting lightly in the soft breezes that blew through the interior of the island. Even with his superior eye sight he could not see to the other island near the celestial sanctuary, nor could he make sense of the world beyond the forest edge, the thick fog making the island all the more mysterious and challenging, but it would work that way for both competitors. It was not long before he had reached the very tip of the island, welcoming the smell of salt, the thick spray, the very immensity of the turbulent sea, taking in her haunting tune. Loud and strong the waves did toss and turn, boil and crash as they showed no mercy to the battered shore, the winds blowing cold and hard, causing the mighty guardians of Delos to moan and whine in protest. What a day for a battle, the whole island and sea upon which it laid seemed to roar and shout and sing with the prospect, Vegeta's blood pounding through his veins in anticipation. He watched the forces of nature around him, magnificent and untamed, like the people of the sea themselves, he would not fail in this, nothing would keep him from his goal, he would triumph over this island and its Mistress.

Some where in his travels, possibly from the mouth of his mother in his infancy he heard the story of the island, a refuge for the goddess Leto from the wrath of Hera, upon which she could have her two children, the goddess of the Moon and the god of the Sun. A floating island Delos was, until his father had chained it to the sea floor, and its unusual origins were still strong; it was plain to see that it was a mystic place, even the air felt different from the mainland. Or maybe it was just the thought that he shared his new residence with that sharp tongued nymph; he still had her scent in his nostrils and her taste in his mouth. After she had left him, flashing him that look as if she was the goddess Bulma herself he had taken her advice to heal his wounds, using it as an opportunity to search farther into the interior of the island, hoping to find the sprite's lair. Five hours later, as the solar chariot was nearing the end of its daily race, he had traversed over half the island and still it held back its mysteries from him. The vegetation was thicker and lusher than any forest he had ever seen. The ferns grew to the height of a man's head, the vines like a natural net or trap that threatened to catch you at every step, the canopy of leave was so thick the world appeared to be tinted green underneath the silent giants. This contest would not be quite as easy as he had believed, to simply navigate through the forest would be a challenge worthy of the greatest hunters, but he must overcome it. No simple plant or woman could stand in his way, no matter how mythic they were, or how much his mind was centred on something else, primarily a blue eyed doe with long graceful limbs. He had already wasted half his night on her, his body far too willing to give up to the temptation of his imagination, even while his body and mind begged for rest. Every time he closed his eyes she was there, blue hair brushing against his skin, her eyes full of longing and playfulness as she used those arms and legs to wrap around him, enticing him past the point of madness. Closing his eyes, he let his mind return to that place and he was once again by that stream with her, his body in the grips of a fever where his skin had meet hers, pressing against her, only this time his mind has removed her clothes as well. He could see those lids covering her luminous eyes, and he kissed her neck, coaxing her to open them, smirking as she once again opened her eyes and stared at him with those soft brown eyes … brown? All at once, the body beneath him changed, morphing into the face and body of the daughter of Oenopion, the airy, supernatural beauty of his nymph replaced by the sultry but devious charms of the dangerous woman. His blood seemed to go cold at the sight, those brown eyes now burning like the fires of Hades, only to transform into red hot coals that inched ever closer to him. His breath caught in his throat, his mind now reliving the whole experience, the searing heat of the pokers almost burning the delicate flesh of his eye, the heated metal a second away from taking his sight once more. And with a mere flicker of his eye lids, the memory ended, his lungs releasing a sigh of relief when the pain filled darkness was banished from his mind, his eyes taking in the low light with great relish. He growled to himself as he shook his head, maybe the air was getting to him, he had often relived that time before, but only in his dreams, never in his waking moments, and never so vividly. To think such horrors though could have such a grip upon him, and yet were vanquished with the mere movement of an eye lid, the motion so simple but now so precious, something that could not be fully appreciated until it was gone. No, he would never experience that again, never allow himself to be so destroyed, or overcome by a pretty face; he could not fail, he would not, his mind systematically shutting down all unnecessary thoughts and emotions. The last lighter thought that entered his mind was how beautiful the sun's warmth was as it caressed his face, the world around him coming alive with the sun. After that his higher mind closed off and he let instinct take over, slipping along the forest's edge, hunting his challenger like a predator stalks their prey.

¦ ` ¦

Strong arms wrapped around her, the heady scent and beautiful sight of the dark skinned man filling her senses, while a set of soft lips nuzzled her neck and she couldn't stop herself from a tiny moan at the feeling, getting a chuckle from the body above her. About to bite into him and growl for laughing at her, she nearly jumped out of her skin when his hand stroke her breasts, her every objection dying in one touch. So this was what it was like, the experience she and her honour would never allow her to know, the undeniable force that stole so many of her followers and earned her such an enemy in Aphrodite. By her mother, she couldn't even describe it, how it felt, those warm hands massaging and touching her, teasing her with the promise of something she didn't understand and had never known, but somehow she knew that it was coming and she wanted it. Moaning at his ministrations, it wasn't long before she began to growl, burying her fingers in that thick black hair and pushing him down further towards the spot where everything seemed to burn. Her plea must have meant something to him, his breath tickling the sensitive skin of her neck and his lips skimmed lower, as did his hand.

"Say my name." That deep rumbling voice, husky with lust, whispered to her before his hot, wet mouth latched on to her breast and his finger gave her the lightest teasing touch between her legs. This time she couldn't keep it down as she almost screamed the name out as a wave of unexpected ecstasy flowed through her veins.

"Vegeta."

"Ahhhh!" Bulma woke with a start, crying out in shock as the images from her dream burned in her brain, everything nuance of the encounter branded into her consciousness as if she had really been in his arms. Her skin was covered in a light sweat, her cheeks flushed red, her breath was short and her body was aching in places she didn't even realised existed, not in her, she was not supposed to feel these things. And yet she could not deny the dream, and everything that it had done to her, just the thought of those dark eyes set in that hard, handsome face …, by her mother, what in the world was happening to her? It took her several minutes to notice the world beyond her bed, her mind still reeling from those feelings that felt so real and foreign but wondrous all at the same time. Was that what he wanted to do to her, her knowledge of sex so limited, she knew all but the bare minimum, not willing to allow herself to study a topic that was so forbidden to her code of ethics. What was she doing dreaming about sex, or a man, especially having one so vivid that she couldn't even forget it; was Hypno having a good laugh at her expense, or the unseen gods of irony deciding to punish her for making such a fuss about Goku's indiscretion? Her words, his words and those of Aphrodite ran through her mind, as she tried to assess what was happening to her. To think yesterday she had defended and proven an ideal of chastity to the goddess of love and now she was questioning her own beliefs, well was she? It was only a simple dream, it meant nothing, merely a by-product of too much pent up emotion from her arguments with Aphrodite and Goku, and confusion from that mortal's touch upon her body. At the thought of yesterday, what he had done to her in her dreams and in reality her confusion washed away in a torrent of anger. How dare he think he could use her like a simple mortal woman, like a tavern wench or peasant girl that needed a roll in the hay, the threat that she gave yesterday about cutting off his balls growing more appealing. Son of Poseidon indeed, he might have divine blood but he could still bleed it easily enough; how dare he insulted her and her abilities, making outrageous requests for the possession of her nymphs. Oh, he would rue the day he ever came up with this quest, dared to touch her out of terms, her tirade stopping short as the words of her enemy and friend ran through her mind.

You're so afraid of finding a man: You do have a tendency: who might be able to prove you wrong: respond to any kind of challenge: make you question your prudish beliefs: by a man with violence: a pathetic coward.

No, they were wrong, she wasn't acting like that, she was not a coward or afraid of any man, certainly not of this one. She had taken her life as a pledge of service and personal growth, just because Aphrodite couldn't see beyond the end of her nose did not make her vow any less honourable. Her hesitation because of this man did not mean that her vow was wrong, or that she was afraid of a mortal just because he had touched her, it was not for that that she was after his neck, he insulted her, she had to defend her honour. Of course she responded with violence to a situation regarding a male, it was the only thing that even got through to them, it was their punishment for the crime of provoking her anger, taking what belonged to her, or was not theirs to take. Resisting the urge to take a more understanding stance with her opinion, she held on to her righteous anger, transferring all the hatred, shame and pain caused by Aphrodite, Goku and herself onto the man that now stood in challenge against her. Her anger and confusion over the dream clouding her thoughts, she began to plot out her revenge towards the man that had done what none before had ever dared, and that alone made him an enemy in her eyes. He was one like all the rest, no worse, since he used his divine blood to commit all the sins that she had placed upon all of the male species, even her own brother, her mind reminded her. Banishing the thought of Goku from her mind, she tried to forget what her anger truly was about and focussed it on a new source, that of the man. Still, she could not silence her more truthful nature, the little voice taking the blame off Vegeta and centring her hatred on the more culpable party. This fight, this rage had everything to do with herself, her anger and stubbornness, her inability to face her fears, she was taking the easy route and making him a victim of her short-sightedness. Groaning for her conscience to shut up, she allowed the voice to finally forced her to work her way out of the warm bed and down towards the heated bathing pool. Peering out of the temple window along her way, her eyes were met with the pleasing sight of the forest in the grips of the coming morn. The sky above was a deep grey, not yet touched by the rays of the sun, thick rolling fog adding to the overall greyness of the world outside. A bleak day, but the weather was hardly of issue for what she would engage herself in, in truth, the layer of low lying cloud cover was an added bonus to her cause. She knew this island from her childhood, her opponent did not, her senses were far sharper and stronger, even with the loss of her sight; her choice of weapon, her silver arrows, never missed their mark. But again, that little part of herself that so often spoke out of turn crept into her thought; he had caught her with ease yesterday, and had disarmed her, well, shocked her. It didn't matter the circumstances, she would be better prepared today, she now knew who she was facing, as well as feel what the whole match meant to her and the grander scheme, she would not be so caught off guard. She couldn't even remember the last time she had been challenged in the arts of the hunt, or if she had ever had the experience, and some how a part of her, the primal hunter beyond the restrained façade revelled at the thought of a challenge. Maybe she was really putting too much thought into this contest, this metaphysical examination of everything, it would be premature to pick apart an event before it had even begun, or even the significance of it before it had played itself through. There were times in life when one must study and ponder the questions of life, and those when life must be lived and it was one of those latter times, to just live the moment, join this hunt and enjoy every moment until its completion. It was only her, her opponent, as strong and possibly skilled as herself and an island full of traps, pitfalls and some of the thickest terrain in the mortal world; opportunities like this didn't come allow every day.

Ignoring, or making the best attempt to ignore the voices of doubt in her mind, she quickly washed, dressed and prepared herself for the coming day, her fingers hardly keeping still enough to braid back her annoying long mane. The unexpected excitement at the idea of this challenge was making her giddy, like a small child at the start of a great adventure, the tension of the past few days and her argument with her brother melting away. For all that she was cursing the mortal's name, she could almost thank him now, he was providing her with the ultimate stress reliever, not only the promise of a great challenge but the chance to prove herself better than any man; and when she won … . At that thought she stopped, a notion she had not even conceived of entering in her mind; the man had made it very clear yesterday that if he won he expected a reward, even something beyond simple bragging rights, could she make the same request? The most enchantingly sinister smirk slid across her face as she took the question again, what kind of reward could she demand from him if, when she won? That previous smirk of self-satisfaction grew all the wider; she could demand from him that he publicly declare her the greatest hunter in the world, or to owe her a blood oath to do her bidding whenever she asked. Ideas of the many ways that she could humiliate him or use such a prominent figure to her advantage made her head spin and whirl, but it also brought a most unwelcomed thought to her mind.

You think this is just some kind of game, he is too dangerous for you to simply meddle with him. What if he becomes another Yamcha, or worse, what if you give into physical desire, what if that dream becomes a reality? It almost became one yesterday, can you even deny that you wouldn't like to see if it really as wonderful as they say it is, especially with him, someone so strong and smart, nearly an equal to you? If you were not so unaffected by him why did you not proclaim to him that you were the very Goddess that he sought to do battle with the next day, afraid that he would think of you as the goddess and not the woman?

"No, I'd never give in to someone like that, someone so arrogant and thoughtless, that I could ever give into anyone is a joke. I'm a goddess, no simple man, mortal or not, can touch me, not like that, not to that point; what did I fight so long and hard to prove just to throw all rational thought out the window for a pair of strong arms and onyx eyes?" She had long ago dedicated her life to chastity, virtue, knowledge, truth and service, believing that the first was the key to the others and through all she would find true happiness within herself, to see the true herself. Life was for the purpose of learning, for growing wiser, stronger and yet since she had met that man she had already broke more of her own personal rules than she had thought possible, not telling him her identity, even enjoying his touch. In her mind she could not justify any of her actions, they were born out of folly but they were merely set backs, experiences that told her to stick to her chosen path. She did not need the temptations of the flesh to make her stray from her purpose, or any man to complete her, and when, at the end of the day she was the victor, she would extract a punishment that would make him pay for making her stray so. Just the name of her opponent caused a slight shutter through her slender form, Vegeta, the dishonoured son of Poseidon, the attacker of women and butcher on a grand scale, a being like that deserved more her scorn than her consideration. And yet, he had been so gentle with her in his arms until she had touched his tail, the thought of her momentarily wanton behaviour making her cheeks blush crimson; but he had pulled back, even when he could have pressed for more. There was a nobility in him that shined out from those eyes, even if he been brought so low. He had stood as an equal to her, if but a moment and for that he deserved a measure of respect; for a minute, she thought haughtily, he would have to earn it after that. With that she slung a quiver of tempered silver arrows and another of wooden ones over her shoulder, and tested the tautness of the spun silver bowstring on her gilded long bow, all weapons the product of Hephaestus' forge, until she was finally ready to leave the sanctuary of the temple. Flying deftly through the thick foliage of the forest, her mind took in her surroundings, well what she could see beyond the cover of the fog; taking in every detail she could as her strategic mind formulated out what possible plans and traps she could use. But even in her most stern minded state could not help but revel at the sight, sounds and smells of the mysterious world of Delos, the smell of wet dirt and the plant life bringing back that sense of childlike happiness to her manner. Finally reaching the land's edge, she allowed her mind to relax and calm, the wash of information, plans, and ulterior motives sinking into her brain, joining with her subconscious to allow her the beauty of action without thought. Her last purely peaceful thoughts were how wonderful the smell of the salt and the light splash of the surf was against her skin, a tiny voice in her head thinking back to the warmth of the mortal's wet skin against her own. Lost in the memories and denials that came with the unconscious, she didn't break from her reverie until the first spikes of the Goku's chariot began to touch the sky, slowly and quietly beating back the grip of Chichi's dominion over the heavens. For a moment she just stood at the water's edge taking in the peaceful feeling, it had been so long since she had taken such a simple pleasure, just herself, the sun, the wind, the water and the world alone. But like all other attempts at peace in her life, this one was shattered, by the goddess herself as she quickly turned on her heel towards the inland and began her trek inward. What need was there for extended peace when there was a hunt a foot, and the most challenging prey she would ever face, one that would hunt back; the thought oddly thrilling to her more hidden sensibilities. What difference did it make, she had the sense of right and truth on her side, she would not fail. Flying low to the ground, darting and flitting past the towering giants that overran Delos, loving every sensation that touched her senses, the very anticipation of a challenge making her blood burn, a wondrous day it would be; the hunt had begun.

P P P

At the very edge of the fog he ran, along one clear line of land between the rock huned coastline and the brush filled forest, through the pockets of low lying cloud towards the other side of the island, towards its centre. Flying with as much speed as the close quarter of the forest would allow, using senses long honed and trained, born for this, born to hunt were now set on the only other dangerous animal on Delos. He might have a minute, maybe two between when he saw the sun rise slowly in the East and when the Western half would take in the light, a moment extra to prepare, to get into position, to catch her off guard. Man, or one man in particular, who would have thought that Aphrodite's simple verbal jab so long ago would come true, she was now on one of the most thrilling hunts of her life, and man was her prey. What kind of abilities and powers the goddess had were for the most part unknown to him, there were probably more stories about her deeds than there were of his own. Shaking her head to rid herself of the images, both real and imaginary about him; this was not the disgusting, self satisfying fantasy of an oversexed goddess, this one was for honour and pride, and bragging rights. As fast as the wind and silent as the air when she ran through the woods, over flew, if the case may be. She was strong, almost deceptively so, with power far beyond that of five mortal men, and her aim, with those precious silver arrows always struck true. More than anything she planned on winning, her mind set on the singular goal before her, cut the bastard off before he gets any farther than to the healing spring, maybe even tapping him on the back before she made him admit defeat. But even her description was vague and mysterious, a lovely Amazon, with a dozen breasts, no breasts, the face of a wild beast, the body of a nymph, wearing divine armour, clothed only in her long hair; he had seen a hundred rending of her in temple statues and clay vessels. How she wished to see the look of rage and shock on his face. No one really knew what the goddess looked like but those that had encored her wrath and her most devoted followers, one particularly fetching creature grabbing his attention. And what will you do when he realises that he has already met you, fought against you, taken liberties with you no man has even dreamed of. He might have asked her yesterday what her mistress looked like, though he doubted how it would matter; she was hunting for him as well and if didn’t find her, she definitely would him. How do you know that he will not simply announce this fact to the world when this game has been played? She would have to forces his silence when she won, it was a bridge she would come to when she got to it. But, he smirked viciously, it was not in the tracking, it was the catching that was the mark of success for the true hunter. And what if you lose? It wasn't a thought she was willing to contemplate.

Closer and closer he was moving towards the opposite side of the island, the crashing of the waves and salty air of the sea on his right masking the sound and smell of his progress; while his eyes flickered back towards the inland and his ear ever trained for the sound of an approach. It would not be a simple matter dealing with him, something in those eyes, revealing to any that could see his arrogance and overwhelming insolence. She must be on the move right now, knowing the terrain of the island well she would stay inland and probably hope to cut him off before he would even expect her. He was like every mindless, moronic hunter that dared to think themselves the best, the true embodiment of the crass, egotistical bastard that she had always seemed to face, but this one had gone further than most. But instead, he chose the long route around, circling back to trap her and go in for the kill. Watching the land carefully on his inside, he continued to run, his spear ready at hand for when he would dart back towards the island’s heart. Most men who defied her did not last long, as either a victim of her arrows or her power, her explosive anger leaving men dead and bestial in her wake; now but the most brave and foolish dared to speak against her. Well, them and the divine. In his travels the day before, he had taken in a set of foothills running along the island’s backbone, once he made it to the crags then he would strike inward. And now she was fighting against all of it, hunting every vice and evilness of humanity, in her eyes at least, hunting him down, as he was her, the realisation of that oddly thrilling to her sense of righteous. Beginning to take in deep breaths, though far from winded, he watched the change, the fog dulling his eye sight and clouding his keen sense of smell. Here she was, flying through the beautiful, mysterious forest, upon the isle of her mother, about to do battle against true evilness and he could not take on a better form, if she could ever find him. For every moment of sight it took away from him he benefited in his sense of hearing, the heavy moist air carrying the rustle of every leaf, the chirp of every bird, the lapping of water against the rocky river bed as clear as a bell. Stopping at the base of a grove of cedar trees, she took in a breath, and her surroundings; it had been nearly a half hour since she had began this hunt and he had not made an appearance, every trace of him was gone, as if he were only a figment of her imagination. But there was no sign of her, the forest all too silent, to still, his eyes darting about, almost swearing that he could feel two deadly, calculating eyes staring him in the back. Walking about the glade, she slipped the silver bow from her back and tried to find a sense of him, not showing any concern to what she was doing, and what dangers lurked beneath her feet. And then it came, the light moving and rustling that he had dismissed, the tiny groan of something that could possibly be cloth, all nothing until he heard the snap. She could have screamed, or gasped, but instead she stood frozen to the spot, the sound of the simple twig snapping like the bark of Cerberus , what had she done? Like trumpet it seemed to ring in his ears, echoing through the whole island, too loud to be an animal and too distinct to be the wind, and coming from the centre of the island, she was close now. Before she had a chance to berate herself further she leapt into the trees, taking cover in the thick canopy of leaves, the past could not be out done but she would have to recover and rise above; damn it she was not going to lose, not against him. Just the thought that he knew where she was, that he was closing in made him smirk, so even the divine Bulma could make a mistake. Where ever the bastard was he would have heard that, the whole thing seemed unreal, the world between that time and now not changing in the least, but in the quickest of moments victory might have been pulled from her grasp. Not waiting to reach the foothill's edge, he began his trek inward, this time his pace was slow and cautious, avoiding even the movement that would cause the fog cover to stir at his presence. Positioning herself in the most central location of the grove, within the tree with the most foliage, she made her stand, her mind forming any kind of plan to reverse these disastrous fortune, but there was little more that she could do but sit and wait.

Using his spear tip to gently part the foliage, he start to move towards the interior, his eyes ever darting back and forth and behind to take in any simple detail or flickering of fog that would indicate another person. In every swirl of fog or whistle of the wind, Bulma tensed, in her better mind she knew it was not him but still, she couldn't stop her thoughts, or where they seemed to be headed. Even without the loss of his vision, the way was myriad of pitfalls and obstacles, the forest floor a carpet of twigs, leaves, and downed vines, forever present to trip him up and alert the whole forest to his location. Such a contradiction that man was, what she saw and had originally expect of him countering sharply; Vegeta, not a name to cross or offend for anyone. It must have been by miracle alone that he did not make a sound, but apart from the soft whisper of his own steady breathing, there was nothing, it seemed an eternity since he last heard the sound of other life. He was far shorter than she had expected, more pleasing to the eye, the very spitting image of his father, but look could be deceiving, even if they were so wholly dangerous at first glance. Maybe it had been a figment of his imagination, maybe it hadn't been her at all, that it was a trap, or a simple trick of the wind, he seemed utter alone now, existing in a world of nothing but the barest sound of life hidden by the fog. Now that she had seen the face behind the legend, the complete confidence the man had, the impossible strength that made him equal to the gods themselves, she knew the stories had been justified, the thought giving her a small shiver. Even it too was playing on his mind, the rays of the sun still not burning away the clouds that swirled gently with every motion of his feet and dancing before his eyes, like a beckoning female. His triumphs in the hunt and in battle were unmatched, as ruthless and horrible as his father, both in pride and violence; and in his use of women, one in particular, the rumours of his treatment and blinding by Merope.

Could she be out there, mocking him and his inability to find her, his eyes as useless now as when they had been burned from his sockets; that thought only adding to his already deteriorating control. He was a monster, an animal and yet she was dreaming about him, hiding from him like a frightened rabbit; she would not hide, not turn and run from any man, she would fight. It was another woman, mocking him, belittling him, he would not sacrifice any part of his pride to another woman; no matter how godly, he would not lose this match, he would earn back his shattered pride. Standing on the thick multitude of branches that made up her foot hold, she snatched a group of five wooden arrow from her quiver. Damn it, even the wind blowing through the leaves above his head seemed to snicker and laugh at his inability, he was a failure, the memory of his father's disappointment playing in his mind. Aiming two with one hand, she positioned the bow to point towards the sky, if she was going to stay in this one location she was not going do to it without mounting a defence. She hardly took in the song of her arrows' flight before she grabbed another hand full, and then another; she would smoke the bastard out, or injure him, nothing more than what he had probably done in the heat of battle. With every brush of that thick air against his skin, he could almost feel the grasp of his enemy, forever taunting; the wind increasing in speed, almost whistling through the branches, growing louder and louder, wait, that wasn't the wind.

Scores and scores of arrows seemed to fill the air, the forest alive with the sound of them as they fell to earth, and still she grabbed more from her quiver, a gift from her mother, the arrows it contained never running out. Flying through the fog, screaming their descent to the world, the wooden missiles of death coming out of no where, the strength behind them enough to drive the metal heads through the trees and stones upon the ground, imbedding the shaft to the very vanes. She didn't stop until her hand began to ache from the more than thirty arrows that had left her bow in under a minute, her anger for the moment appeased, and her ears tuned to listen for any possible results. After the first round of thwaps struck the forest came alive, it had not been his mind playing tricks on him, she was close, no more than a mile away, and thinking her could pin him down, injure him and then go in for the kill. All around there were the hushed sounds of the forest, every one of them taking on a sound she had never heard from her beloved woods; the leaves, the grass, ferns, rivers and birds seemed almost to laugh at her. Damn it, he growled to himself, scowling mercilessly at his own stupidity, was he so blind, to think he could allow himself to be so easily cornered and pinned, never even taking a shot at his opponent. Damn him, she growled out, fighting the sounds of laughter in her mind, his almost blaring the loudest of all; she had missed, all of that effort and nothing to show for it, but that she was again at a disadvantage to him. The survival instinct kicked in and Vegeta jumped back as more missiles rained down from the unseen sky, five whizzing past him, the metal tips inches away from his shoulder. No, it wasn't true, she cried to herself, her blood boiling as she imagined her dark face laughing at her, thinking her weak and a coward; just like Aphrodite had said. It had to work, even if she had to fire arrows in every direction she would find him. Raising his shield above his face, he waited for the next barrage, but instead it came nearly twenty feet to his left; she couldn't find him either. Again and again she nearly emptied her quiver and again it filled itself, but still there was no sound of him, no broken twigs or cries of pain, no sounds of an escape from her barrage. His earlier scowl uplifted to a smirk, there he was at the very brink of defeat, the wrath of Bulma herself upon him and he survived, endured, and now he was going to win. First big mistake, letting him know where she was and that she didn't know the same of him; slowly, silently Vegeta got to his feet, the arrows now even farther away from him. A pathetic coward her harsh inner self kept repeating, you are just as they said you were, or is it that your emotions are clouding your sense? She was firing in an arch, hoping to him hit, or make him panic and slip up, a costly gamble that she had lost.

Cursing her emotions to heck, she continued to launch arrows into the air, but the question began to plague her mind; darn it, why must there have been fog on this day of all days, it was like she was blind. Even the weather seemed to be turning around, the once distant sun gradually burning its way through the fog, it wouldn't be long before the foolish covering was gone and the field would be totally equal. How close was he, for all she knew he could be behind her, or in front of her, the fog and her own desperation muddling her concentration and her sense, the smell of him tickling her nostrils. But, he thought, inching even closer to the possible origin of the aerial attack, so much the better for him to take the advantage before the time of end game began. He could be any where, ready to pounce at any moment, the thought jarring and thrilling at the same time, her body almost feeling his hands against her skin and his breath at her neck. For every step taken, the brush grew thicker, the vines and low lying branches more treacherous, the wail of the arrows growing ever stronger, but still he could not see his opponent. What would it be like, what he had said to her earlier rushing through her mind, what was it really like to know a man's touch? Walking into a thicket of cedars, the sounds all seemed to merge and compound, the rushing of water in a river, the rustling of leaves, the slighted flapping of a bird's wings, the last one growing louder, drawing closer. At the back of her mind she had taken in the low sound of the bird, the sound mostly ignored until the most earth shattering squawk ripped through her consciousness, causing her to jump in shock. To his credit he did not scream out, but fell to the ground in shock as out of no where a giant crow descended upon him, swooping at his head and screeching in a voice loud enough to wake the dead, and revealing to anyone on the island his location. By her mother, he was beneath her, he had made it into her very stronghold while she was dreaming about, about, she couldn't even think the word. Damn it, she wouldn't miss him this time. Any element of surprise died with that squawking bird's call, Vegeta only having a moment to protect himself before a silver bolt struck the every centre of his shield, the deadly tip an inch from his nose. The fog blurring her vision of the ground, she could only shot at the clouds below her, but this time she had something to follow, the vibration of one of her arrows hitting true. He must have been within a few feet of her, yet through the fog he saw nothing, relying on his hearing as he rolled out of the way of more as silver arrows flew through the air, the trees around him shaking violently. She had him now, hearing him writhe about the ground, trying to escape her wrath, damn him and any man who went against her, an arrow in hand to go for the kill. Damn it, she was in the trees!

"Bulma, do you fear me so that you hide in the trees like a frightened bird; face me like a true fighter, you coward!" He screamed out, a loud cry of indigence following and the whiz of another arrow flying just inches from his forehead. Stupid move, Vegeta, she smirked, her mind now focussed on her task, and his voice like a beacon leading her to him. He could only guess at her exact location, only one chance to save his life and honour, the rush and whirl of all the noise fusing together into one orgasm of sound. So close, here it was, the chance to repair all the mistakes of before, to prove to them all, Aphrodite and Goku that she feared no man, that no man could ever touch her. He would only get one chance, one shot, rolling away one last time, he crudely aimed his spear towards the leaves and fired, the air screaming as the head sliced through the fog and a cry of shock and pain followed, his aim was true. She didn't have time to react as it came, hurtling out from the impossibly thick mist, the tempered metal tip inches from her face, turning only at the last second, letting it nick her in the shoulder. Hardly following the arch of his shot, he took in the slight tint of red upon the spear's tip before leaping to his feet and climbing up the tree's trunk with ease until he was perched upon the branches, the ground becoming a blur beyond the fog. Pain and adrenaline blended together into something wholly unknown to her, the thick red blood pouring from the wound, the body tensed and ready for fight or flight. He could smell her, fight or flight, the scent haunting familiar to that of his little nymph, but now it was tempered with sweat, adrenaline and blood, fight or flight, that last smell filling his very senses, reminding him that he was predator, flight.

The branches swayed under his heavy bulk, he flew with the speed of the wind through the trees, following the signs that everyone of his senses was reeling from, the air alive and his blood high. He was close, the smell of him every where, the air once heavy with moist now alive with blood, adrenaline and anticipation. Whatever shock he had given to the goddess was but a memory, she was on the run, as silent as the wind as before but the smell, sweet and feminine with an overpowering odour of blood, he could track her across the whole island. She had to get away, to safer ground, to the healing spring, nothing of this day had been right, not since the first moment that she had opened her eyes, and now she was about to become the prey of a hunter. The hunt had now turned chase, her at the lead, bobbing and weaving through the dangerous brush, running along the slenderest branch, dodging the dozens of small limbs that threatened to take off their heads; jumping over those that threatened to take out their legs. Damn him, she would not lie down for him, would not dare stroke his ego, she would fight, she would fight; and looked on in glee as she spotted a thick upper branch. And always he was behind, but growing closer with every step until the vibrations seemed to stop right in front of him, the smell disappearing for the faintest second. Up and over she swung herself, leaping with the grace of a cat, waiting until the shock of hair had past below her to become the hunter, jumping from the branch to pounce on her unsuspecting prey. Unable to slow himself down, Vegeta cried out low in his throat as a set of legs pushed into his back, the force of the blow and his speed combined to send him sprawling from the tree, damn woman, she had gotten the better of him again. Never in her life had it felt so good, seeing the tables to turn so quickly, truth and wisdom winning out over strength and stupidity, the sweet taste of victory filling her mouth. Hanging on by the tips of his fingernails and a single loose vine, his eyes took in a single delicate foot encased in a leather sandal, the straps tied up to one shapely calf, his ears ringing as one single sound, that of a bow being cocked back blared through his senses. She had won, beaten back her critics and her own doubt, lording her victory over the slipping form of her enemy, it needed only the release of her arrow to make it complete; so why was she delaying? He had drawn blood and would have it drawn in return, the silly boast of his nymph early running through his ears, but the goddess seemed not to move, holding in that position for over a minute. Through he mist she could see his face, harsh and snarling at him, those eyes that had said with her all night boring holes into her brain, daring her to fire, daring her to attack, but all she could really see was them daring to match herself to him. She couldn't not know where he was, was she thinking that he would beg for his life, ask for mercy and prostate himself before her, the woman was not after blood but the ultimate attack to his pride. So deep and mysterious those eyes, only yesterday they had taunted her, challenging her, soothed her, taken a piece of her she didn't even realise she had, the dream only making it clearer for her. Shaking with the rage that consumed him, he ever so slowly repositioned himself on the limb, the woman still not striking, not even moving, lording over her superior; no, he was inferior to no one but his father and Zeus himself. What would it be like to touch him, was it as wonderful as her dream, by her mother, she was going mad, but the thought would not rest, and his eyes would not still in their scrutiny. Inside of him that energy of his blood, the immortal, infinite part of himself burning with his rage, the power descending from his body's reserves into a control ball of light, much tinier than that much felled Riccome and hurled it at his hidden attacker, the shot just enough to stun until he could right himself. Like the attack before it, again she was unprepared as a shot of pure light, glowing as brightly as Goku's aura, this time there was no dodging, raising her leather bound arms in front of her face to soften the blow. For the second time that day, the goddess screamed at his unexpected assaults, the branch shaking violently as she must have fallen on the limb; Vegeta smirking devilishly, finally getting to return the favour. Her mind could only babble and sputter at the most unexpected attack, how, how could he do such a thing only reserved for the god, she moaned as her body connected very sharply with the branch under her feet. It came into his mind, as he swung up with the ease of a cat back to a righted position, that he could also return the favour and lord over her, not taking his victory but making her beg, giving him the satisfaction. But she, like he, was a warrior, had a hunter's spirit, and a considerable amount of power, it was only a second before she too had righted herself and sprang on the attack. Head throbbing and shoulder even more damaged, Bulma managed to get herself up, cursing him and herself for that far too costly lapse, the sweet taste of victory going bitter in her mouth and she mourned the death the only way she knew how and proceeding to beat him within an inch of his life. The divine face and body still concealed by the fog, he knew only by the deadly silver bow now club that she was there, grunting at every swing of the weapon; now he was going to get a true fight. Her shame now turned rage, she attacked; victory was empty now, bragging rights and honour be damned, all she wanted was for him to know pain, if he could ever find him! A wild wonderful battle ensued, her and her bow and he with his short sword, clanging, crashing, sparks flying nearly every time that metal hit metal, the two of them rushing through the trees. The network of limbs was now a deadly cat walk upon which they must have run over the whole glade, dodging the other's attack and the avoiding the natural hazards of fighting in the trees. Snarling and snapping, and swinging her bow, again he eluded her, her arms sore, her blood high and her near passionate hatred of him growing with every missed shot and clang of metal against metal. His muscles ached but his blood sang with the competition, the best he had ever had, the pleasure of facing an opponent as strong and driven as oneself as invigorating as any fight he had taken on in his life. How they groaned and strained with the effort to keep the other at bay, the rush of their combat overwhelming every other sound and happening in the whole forest. Straining against the ache of his body, he swung the sword blade downwards, lunging at the unseen hunter, but even he could not defend as she jumped back quickly from his attack, only to swing her weapon around and catch his arm, knocking his sword to the distant ground. Had it been another circumstance, she might have been more merciful, kinder, show more compassion, but damn it, if she lost this advantage now there might never be another again.

"And now," a silken, impudent voice rang out through the fog. "You will finally admit your weakness, oh 'great son' of Poseidon." No, he could not lose, not to her or anyone, he would not lose, or admit to anything, he … would … not … admit … defeat; he snarled out at her, growling like a cornered panther. She could almost see his face through the fog, Goku's chariot burning away the dense cloud and with it her anonymity, she would have to take her victory fast, her hand reaching back to grab an arrow from her quiver. His body almost seemed to work beyond himself as he lunged at her, the attack to fast and unexpected for even Bulma to dodge and he slammed into her, getting a glimpse of white and blue before she disappeared from his eyes again. One moment she was going in for the final kill, skill and strength proving her the best, but it was not merely in that but in smarts, and she had been so dumb; underestimating so dangerous a creature. In the fight he had not realised how close they were to the rushing water, his mind far too occupied on other things, but now they were falling, nothing below to grasp them from the air before they fell, and fall they did, splashing head first into a hidden lake. Hitting her with all that he must have had left, she fell from the tree but not without taking a victim with her into the unknown below and the lake which met their fall. He had but a moment to fill his lung before he dropped below the surface, plunging into the watery grips of the lake, the cool water both wonderful against his skin but the heaviness dragging him down into the depths. Gliding into the water's grip like a child to its mother, Bulma let herself be pulled down and away, the proximity of that man causing her too much too fast. The murkiness of the water was as bad as that of the fog, he had heard two splashes into the water, but there was no sign of the fallen goddess, his arms and legs now fighting against the various sunken vines and the suction power of the fall to return back to the surface. Righting herself in to the water, her sense possibly for the first time today, completely alert, heard him thrashing about, warring with the lake's plant life as he warred against everything else. Here was her chance, every vice and immortality of man and god before her. There was only a flash of something white, a form and motion around it that seemed to appear in the haunting, blue world of the lake, and all at once it was on him, meagre fists flying with a force greater than he could have dreamed. Smacking into him at the fastest speed the water would allow, she flailed and clawed at him, logic in a situation like this long gone; nothing but the desire to cause him pain, for that which he and others had done to her was guiding her body. His head snapped back at the blow, the figure grabbing, clawing, pouching on him like a cat, but quickly slipping away into the water like a nymph when he retaliated in kind; his own shot hardly even grazing skin. Catching sight of the outline of a face; for a moment thinking that it was his nymph attacking him, or rather teasing him to catch her. Lungs heaving for the lack of breath, Bulma smirked and allowed a few air bubbles to sneak out of her mouth while she prepared herself to attack. The demigod soon cursed his libido as he was again hit, this time head on, kicking, flailing, scratching, anything to slow him down or do him harm, and with a simple tightening of his arms did he stop her dead in her attack, pressing a remarkably lithe body against his own. In one motion of his heavy arms, she had gone from punisher to prisoner, and a very stubborn one at that; her mind dreaming up every name she could dream up, but her eyes grew wide with worry as she saw his expression. Stupid woman, he smirked, his blood still running high from the chase, but his mind concentrating on other very specific areas, every squirm of her body making him more and more libidinous. Those eyes had changed again, the depths of them no longer filled with hate but a far more complex, mysterious emotion to Bulma's mind, the look of outright satisfaction making her insides melt. For all that he admired her courage, he was growing ever more smug; thinking she could possibly beat him in the water, his very father was the god of the oceans, the power of the seas flowed through his veins, but damn it, would she not stay still. She couldn't explain the change in her, her heart starting to race, her body heat rise, her body tingle and ache, the feelings only growing close with his proximity; and now, with her in his arms… Whether it was the after affects of the hunt, the soft warm body flushed against his own or the prospect of having another virgin creature possibly go stunned in his arms, Vegeta couldn't help himself, leaning forward with the express purpose of stopping the woman in his arms. You should know the pleasure of a man's touch, those words echoing through her head, all her life she had taken the straight and narrow and honest path, yet now, now, she wanted to know the other side; what was it like? The better part of his mind was screaming at him, this was not just any woman, or even his little nymph, he would surely be punished, possibly killed for such an act, but at that moment, logic had nothing to do with it. The feeling of his lips on hers burned, the memory of it seared into her brain, those hands on her body, like they were right now, by Zeus she needed some air. One hand sliding up to secure the small, human like head of the woman, a flash of angered blue, deeper than the lake itself, burned into his eyes until their lips almost meeting, even at the motion, Bulma, like the nymph before, froze in his arms. Not knowing what or where of his hold, Bulma went still as she was brought flush against him, his head moving forward; what would he do when he saw. He had caught sight of enough of her face to know that it was human, and rather well shaped; as was the delectable body against his. She tried to hold on, to her rage, her righteousness, her sense of total mortality, all of it, every excuse thrown to the side as she was brought against him, her breasts pressed tightly again that rock hard chest. No, you idiot, what do you think you're doing? When this fight is over you'll be lucky to get off this island alive, the goddess will kill you, will hunt you for your dying days? Above all else she had to know, those lips, that mouth, what did they taste like; a courage not of herself leaning in, determined to take that heavenly mouth. But then, he felt it, the woman against him tentatively touching him, brushing of her lips, soft, warm, full lips against his own, and then, he kissed her. Oh by her mother and Zeus.

With that slightest touch, the moulding of one mouth to the other, Vegeta actually shuddered, her mouth so warm and sweet, just the taste of her danced on his tongue, his skin and blood burning with the sensation. No operating under any conscious knowledge, she let her body lead her where it may, the exhaustion, adrenaline high, raging competition and complete hatred melting away in an embrace that made her feel alive. The goddess herself, seemed to actually cling to him, wrapping these long gracefully limbs around his neck, their legs entwining, her hands massaging the back of his neck and the tense shoulder muscles around it. So good, so warm, a taste to finally join that heady, wonderful smell, she wanted more, she wanted it all, her dream going through her head. Had he been of his right mind he might have questioned this, her actions, his own; this was madness, what if they got caught, but when a small, tentative tongue caressed his own he lost it. She couldn't check the blush on her face, that small gesture the biggest advance she could probably make, but it got results. Opening his eyes, he could almost see his nymph before him, that sexual vixen inside of her finally unleashed and the raw power of that sensual energy had burned it all, logic, reason, vows, virtues and sense swept away in this singular force. He didn't know how but they finally began to rise out of the water, gently breaking the surface, the moist air brushing over their wet skin but neither seemed to notice. Lying down in a bed of thick moss and cypress neddles, even time and space seemed lost to them as they began, caught up in this swelling heat of, he couldn't even put a word to it. What came after was all a blur of passion, flashing of a blue and white body beneath his, kissing, biting, touching, their clothes gone in an instant and it was then skin to skin. She didn't even know how it had happened, one moment they were kissing under the lake's surface, the next she was lying naked, her body bared for a man and the elements to take notice, but tonight was not about the intangible, it was the man. Every move he made, ever stroke, nip or lick she sighed and groaned, oh how she wanted to stay at that moment forever, her mind and body forgetting every thing but his touch. Staring into the set of blue eyes he had dreamed about, he husked lightly against her ear, needing to make good on a promise to himself. Licking up the blood from her torn shoulder, lapping at it almost lovingly to make amends for hurting her, he asked of her what he most wanted to hear.

"Say my name." It wasn't real, it had to be a dream, hidden here in the fog filled glade, the world shut out from this time and place; she wasn't a goddess or he a mortal, but just woman and man now. Losing the last of her inhibitions she finally said the word that she had denied him before.

"Vegeta." The murmur came against her lips, a breathless moan said to the wind and it was enough. Everything stopped as they began truly, the joining more fierce and feverish than any in his life, two bodies becoming one, and when it finally came, neither he or she could cry out, but let the waves of pleasure wash over them until first she then he fell into the comforting vale of sleep.

¦ ` ¦

All around the crickets seemed to sing, the tune only they knew lilting through the warm summer air, the music made all the more richer by the distant sounds of bird and the low rush of the leaves above and the river beside her. This was the noise that first greeted her as she slowly shrugged off the heavy pull of sleep, more content, at peace and satisfied than she had ever felt in her life, and completely and utterly clueless as to why. Why was she out here, and why had she fallen asleep, not that she didn't enjoy it. Hoping to forget the whys and the how before they came upon her, she instead nuzzled her head against the warm, hard bed beneath her, revelling in the feeling of the soft tanned leather blanket against her naked back. Tracing her lips along the top of the bed, she almost moaned at how impossibly warm and smooth it really was, her tongue actually darting out to taste it, only to freeze in shock as a pair of arms wrapped around her and the chest below her began to vibrate.

"So, my little nymph has finally decided to wake up," he chuckled, his lips caressing her forehead. "Care to explain to man why you impersonated your mistress, or would you enjoy another round first?"

No, no, NO, this can't be true, this can't be real, it was just a dream, it was not what it seemed, she said to herself over and over again, her body trembling in shame as memories too clear and vivid to ever be a dream bombarded her. In every recess of her mind she saw him, and her, what he had done to her, his hands, his tail, his tongue, those eyes once dark and clouded with lust were now staring at her in smug satisfaction. No, it wasn't true, she couldn't face that stare again, reminding her of the memories that were so efficacious imprinted on her brain. She couldn't look at him, she had to get away to recover herself; what had she done? She had sacrificed her virtue, her sense of her own self, every principle and belief she held dear for a moment of fleeting pleasure with a man, a man how was the very polar opposite of herself and those beliefs. The instinct came over her again, either fight or flight, she had to get away from him. She was just a moment from bolting, from running into the woods and flying to the temple and never coming out, hiding from the world, dear heavens she had become what Aphrodite said she was, how could she face her, or Chichi, or Goku, or any of them again. Unable to face her crime, or her partner in it, she almost cried out, the look in her eyes not hiding any of the emotion coursing through her veins. She moved, jerking upwards but forgot that his arms were wrapped securely around her, the sudden bump jarring her and she winced, her body so sore and tender, a pain like she had never felt between her legs. What had he done, he must have used her like an animal, and she had let him, actually scream out in ecstasy as he was doing it to her.

"Let me go, you bastard, raper of women, you're nothing but an animal, what have you done to me? I said, LET … ME … GO!" She was screaming and crying, the tears held back for so long now spilling down her face like two trails of silvers. At first she kept her face downturned, only to glare at him; damn him, she would not cower like a child, she was going to face him, her eyes burning a deep blue in her rage. Now it was his turn to be shocked, her screaming voice and squirming body completely unexpected, but still he held back.

"Damn you, damn you, let me go, how dare you lay hands on the goddess Bulma; I don't care if you are the son of Poseidon, I … I." He loosened his grip then, his eyes going wide as the truth was revealed, the instant he released her she struck down hard with her fists against his chest. Stunned by the move as he had been with every thing else about her, he couldn't stop her as she leapt to her feet, and fell to her knees, crying out at the pain now racing through her body. It had been her first time, the heat of the moment making him far rougher than he should have been with her, and now it showed, as she curled into a ball and moaned at the bruises that marred her pale flesh. He almost couldn't believe his ears as she told him, here he had thought he was taking his little nymph, only she was no nymph at all but a goddess, and the most untouchable one of all, well until a few hours ago. Never in his life had he given a care to something as meaningless as a woman, barring his own mother, all that mattered was him, his pride, his honour and his survival, the one moment when he had forgotten that code cost him nearly all four. She was just another woman, a means to an end, he was supposed to win from her a prise, and instead had taken a greater one than he had ever imagined. It was said the goddess Bulma treasured her virginity above all else, that it was the sign physical sign of her honour, how she had never allowed a man to touch her, holding herself above all lower earthly pleasures. But even that was no more, he had taken it, taken what was for no man to have, what she offered to him. Walking up to the prone form of the nude beauty, his ears picking up the smattering of whispers: 'what had she done', 'what would they say,' 'what was to become of her now'? Hmph, nothing would come of this useless weeping, better to have her screaming and snapping, the emotions of anger simple for him to understand.

"Stupid woman, crying over something as trivial as sex, it is not as if you could ever take it back; besides, you certainly seemed to enjoy it, or you screamed like you did." That did it, he almost smirked, his little nymph, or goddess, he guessed he should call her, rounded on him like a lioness in a trap, corner but still a threat, and never backing down. If she had the ability, he was sure her eyes would have flared red, her glare promising murder but the brain in her head wasn't thinking with any kind of sense or reason enough to do such a task; instead she simply jumped at him, mindlessly attacking. Thinking he would simple hold her steady as she worked out her frustrations, the demigod made one huge error in judgement as the goddess slammed into him with all her strength. She was his equal and it had been far too long since he had faced someone with near at as much power as himself, that fact becoming painfully clear as she knocked him to the ground with the force of a tempest. Skidding to a halt, his body drawing out a path in the dirt, he was a second away from another attack when he swept her legs out from under her, catching the falling goddess before she hit the earth. Again she was a wildcat, strong and feral in his grasp, it took all his will power to hold himself steady and not begin what they had done earlier.

"You bastard, that you hold me with such familiarity, I've killed men, turned Actćon into stag for a crime less severe than yours… " With every pounding of her fist and squirm of her body it was harder not to do something with her; for all that she hated it though it might just calm her down, her voice turning frantic and her attacks slowly wearing down. Dragging his lips against her temple, he tightened his grip around her waist to keep her still, sighing as she finally stopped and now took the last road she must have thought opened to her with him: pleading.

"Please," she whispered, the screaming damaging her voice too much for her to make any louder sound. "Please, let me go, I … I can't, can't face them when they find out, I'll be destroyed, ripped apart, an outcast of Olympus; if Aphrodite ever hears of this … ." Ahh, so there's the rub, his mouth skewed into a half smirk as he held her naked body against his own.

"So, you've finally settled down, have you; I would have thought our little game earlier would have drained all the energy out of you. Silly woman, what do you think, that I would apologise for what went on between us, did I not promise you that I would make you say my name, so beautiful a sound it was too, on your lips." That one earned him another growl and a swift punch in the side for his efforts.

"Besides, there are none on this island but you and I, none to see what we have done but the river, grass and trees. My father controls the waters, your mother the island and your brother the sky above our heads." He was right, she reasoned to herself, the fight completely out of her and her mind now becoming exhausted, lulled there by the slow motions of his hands along her back. Stifling a moan, she still purred low in her throat, the explosiveness of before gone but the total seductive power of his hands, body and voice still weakening her resolve. The wandering hands at last started massaging the small of her back and she did moan, her body curling into his, the feeling of his flesh against her own far too nice, and he was far too good at this. Lifting her chin up so that their eyes met, she took in the playfulness in his eyes, as well as the longing look in her own.

"I doubt you will mention it, and I give you my pledge of honour that I will not speak or reveal a word of it to anyone, and no one else need ever know." He smiled at her then, the sight so beautiful she almost melted, the slow passionate kiss that followed did make her melt, and make her breath quicken in her chest.

"I'm, ohh, still, still mad at you." She whispered, her response interrupted by several sighs and moans as he began to play with her, one hand coming up to cup her breast.

"We're go … ohh, mmm, ing, to discuss this later." His mouth covering hers to stop her from making any more interruptions.

"Yes, I'm sure we will."

P P P

Nestled in the centre of Delos, the foothills to its north and river valley to the south and forests all around, the stone temple of the nymphs of Bulma and Leto was a testament to beauty and simplicity. Warm and dry in the raining season but cool through out the summer, its existence was shaded from the prying eyes of anyone on or above the island and yet on every sunny morning, the light of the sun still streamed through the master bedroom. On this day, as it had so many before, the sun found itself a victim, the bright beams disturbing the sleep of one of the bed's two occupants; the man stretching out on the soft mattress beneath him and took in his surroundings. Even after two months on this island, living in this temple, sleeping in this bed, the place still had the power to impress him; taking a few moments to overcome the lure of sleep, he stared about the room, taking in the now familiar tableaux. Bows, arrow, staffs and weapons of all description lined the walls, as well as tapestries of the greatest quality displaying the usage of each weapon; and to think that such a masculine room was originally the chamber of so feminine a creature. At the thought of her, Vegeta looked down to the last piece of the puzzle, the small, delicate lovely that slept so soundly upon his chest, the early morning pose almost becoming a routine as well. He had worn her out again, well he and her duties with the Moon, keeping her up until almost the coming of dusk as they clung to each other in the throes of something completely astounding and spectacular, engaging in their labours until both of their bodies gave out. And every morning, he would arise first to find himself underneath her exhausted body, wrapped in that beautiful blue hair, smelling of her and their love making, and in awe of how he had found himself in these circumstances as he enjoyed Bulma's silent company.

It was two months ago since that first morning, that first time, it seemed like a million years ago now, and only yesterday; so much had happened in only two months. We are going to discuss this, she had said that day, well, her words far more broken than that, he smirked to himself, and discuss it they did, the next morning when they had both awoken again. As soon as both of them had shaken off the vale of sleep they were at each other's throats, their clashing personalities and hidden sexual tension making the air between them sizzle; it was a miracle they ever made it out of the woods without one killing the other, or keeping their hands off one another. Finally pulling apart, Vegeta got the curt invitation to the temple, his only prerequisite was that he had to find it on his own; two days later they were staying together, both sleeping under the same roof, but in separate beds, much to his dislike. She had told him, in no uncertain terms that day, the law according to Bulma, he could hunt what he liked, go where he liked, did what he liked, as long as he didn't leave the island or attempt anything with her. And so it was, for almost the first week they made it, hardly speaking, or seeing each other, well, not consciously, in truth each watched the other like a hawk, the temptation of the other in the bedroom and in the forest. Every night he nearly went out of his skin in anticipation, the memories of before, of the hunt, the chase, the sex afterwards was more than he could have ever dreamed, and to have all of it cast aside, it was a miracle he didn't hunt out the whole island. It was not long before they were hunting each other for the pure sport, the other the only being left on the island that offered a challenge, and in the end, the results were the same. It took one week of sleeping out in the forest, the valley, in the caves and upper plateaus of the island before they came to the final decision; and every night after they spent in each other's arms.

Smoothing his hand up Bulma's side, he flipped them over onto her back, his body braced above her, just taking in the sight of her. His silly little nymph, or goddess, he still could not get over the fact of what had happened. Trailing his eyes up and down her body, it seemed entirely unreal that before him she had been untouched, her body was too beautiful not to know a man, and her sensuality too deep not to come out. Raising himself up above her, he watched in fascination as she lightly moaned, her arms once pressed against his chest now rising up in her unconscious state trying to find him; even in her sleep she could feel his absence. His poor little goddess, he crooned, and smiled down at her, at times unable to understand the turn that his life had taken, the opportunity he had received, could this have been what that old oracle had spoken about. Somewhere in the feuding, challenging, love making and awkwardness they had developed something, maybe it was the physical aspect of their relationship, or the love of the challenge that the other one brought, but even as they had grown into their simple, intense union, it was changing. It had happened almost a week ago, the two of them catching their breath after a fierce bout of mating when the most unexpected occurrence happened; she asked him about his life.

What was your life like growing up? How did you learn of your divine blood, how did you choose to take up the arts of the hunt? What has driven you this far with such determination? All of them and more were questions she asked with wide eyed curiosity, for all of her hiding of that fact; wanting to know all she could and asking him for something no one else had, to speak his mind.

Hearing the woman on the sheets begin to fidget, his smile once more turned smirk, and he decided it was time to begin the day, and what better way than the usual manner, another new tradition born out of their time together. Gathering her up in his arms, letting her softly coo and nuzzle herself against his warmth, he walked out of the room and down the hall, this path well memorised and enjoyed, but oddly the question she had discussed with him last night was still pulling at his thoughts.

What is the greatest value of a woman? He still remembered the way she looked when the question was released to the air, its liberation easing a small amount of the tension from her body, as if the very nature of the question had plagued her for all time. He knew somehow, the glowing concern in her eyes being the major indicator, that this was important, that his answer had a meaning far beyond just himself, and yet he knew not one true answer he could give to her. Beauty, he finally replied, wit and charm, cunning and wisdom and sense; what is of the most value is what makes each different, the collection of qualities which they possessed that makes them of value to another. Nodding her head in obscure acceptance, not getting the answer she obviously expecting, she asked her again, this time more pointedly.

What is the true nature of woman?

No, little nymph, what is the true nature of man?

Padding at last into the bathing room, he looked down at the burden in his arms, so peaceful and content, and his, he thought for an instant, before dismissing such insanity. Soft blue hair fell over his arms, the feeling like silk against his skin; perfect smooth skin brushing against his own in an un-conscious caress, limbs wrapped around him like he were the last man on earth, or the first. But even with this she was not his, he was not hers, and they held no more to each other than a few months of unfettered bliss. Taking in the hopeful rays of the waking sun, he decided to ask for nothing more than that, and with the slightest move of his arms he tossed his bundle into the water, enjoying the sputtering screams that came after it. Hmph, he chuckled, watching her tirade with open amusement, slipping into the water and grabbing her from behind, still laughing as she tried to exact her revenge by splashing him. Wrapping his arms around her tiny waist, he dragged her back against him, grabbing a sea sponge from the tile ledge and cleaning off the activity of the night before. Still cursing his name, she soon was doing the same, the two taking liberties where they could to gain a foot hold against the other. Soon they discarded the sponge and merely soaked up the warmth of the water, looking out at the world from the one wall opening on the side, the sun out today and the whole island celebrating its arrival. Today, Vegeta thought, was going to be a good day.

¦ ` ¦

No, little nymph, what is the true nature of man? What did that mean, was it some kind of riddle or joke, probably no more than her question was to him; the inner voice of doubt surmised. Almost two months they been together, by far the most wondrous and confusing time of her life, her existence now a contradiction in terms to everything she held dear. Why had she done it, why had she accepted him that first time into her life, the answer even after all of these months alluded her; only one truth becoming clear in all the ones that had fallen by the way sides. With every moment she was with him it was getting harder and harder to think of life without him, of a time when he did not toss her into the bath in the morning, or challenge her to a competition of skill, or share her bed. Slowly by slowly he was worming his way into areas that he did not belong, why the first moment she met him he had been doing that. It wasn't good, nothing of good could come of this relationship, it should exist at all; so why couldn't she turn away, or want to think of a life without him? No, the firm mental voice echoing through her head, this was not a thought to be contemplating, she had a better one in front of her, and she would be damned if she did not have an answer.

Before these two months her answer would have been so simple, man's nature is to create and ultimately destroy their creations, it is to strive only for power, and the benefits such power proves. Or, it was to seek power though the exploitation of any who were not strong enough to fight back; this was the truth as she had witnessed it, and this was the universal, in her mind, until Vegeta, he was like the bane of her existence. Even her evils were not the same, taking on new dimension that she had not known existed, and still sometimes where of great mysterious to her, counting all of the cocky bastard's vices. Her mind occupied on that topic, she was caught unaware by the sudden flapping of wings and the eagle's cry loud enough to wake the dead, no, she wasn't ready to face them yet. Her eyes went round and deep with worry at the sound, the emotion made real as she looked up onto the window sill and there it was, a huge eagle perched upon the edge, crying out in welcome and warning any and all that could hear its call. She could not go back, not to face them, her body trembling in real fear, as she let herself sink below the surface to hide from the notorious eagle and its master. Holding her breath, she didn't last more than a minute before a hand clasped on her shoulder and dragged her up to stare into two very dubious black eyes.

"Care to explain?" He asked, his eyes boring into hers, reading her like an open book, making it impossible to lie.

"It's an eagle."

"I know it's an eagle, care to explain why it is here, and why you are hiding from it?" No, not really, her doubts answered out, but that would never suffice him.

"I dunked my head under to wash my hair, you wouldn't want it to be dirty and horrid, now would you?"

"What about the bird?"

"It's an eagle."

"Yes, we have already established that, but now I think you are trying to hide something, not the least of which is that there are no eagles on Delos, or any bird near to that size; where did it come from? And why did you chose this particular time to wash your hair?"

"How should I know, why don't you ask it? As to my desire to wash my hair, I'd just rather not be exposing myself in front of an audience."

"We are still talking about the eagle, right? I think it is far too late to have modesty with me, little nymph. But you seem rather overcome with the sight of it, what does it mean; just tell me." How she wanted to, tell him everything about her feud and his impact but she just couldn't. If he knew she had sacrificed her sense of self over a man, even if he was the one, so much she had given up for him, and her pride was only the start. He might turn away from her in disgust, pride and honour meaning so much to him, and that he was with a woman who had given up both, and that could not guarantee him a spot amongst the gods, especially if their relationship was known. How could she face them again if they found out, Goku and Aphrodite's words stung her still, after two months the pain had only dulled but if it was ever known they would rip her apart; no, she would never return to that place again.

"I have to go out today, off the island; I should have done this a week or two ago, but I must go to the forests around Corinth, matters of divine obligation. I'm afraid there will only be Delos to amuse you today …"

"I'm coming with you." He didn't even let her finish her excuse or her dodging attempt at the true topic at hand, a far more interesting development presenting itself to him; an old vipered tongue woman who had seen this all, and saw his doom. Mycenae was no more than twenty miles from the forests of Corinth and something was pulling him there, back to the place where this whole adventure really had begun.

Looking down at her, wet blue hair clinging to the side of her shapely face, her body looking so deceptively small and delicate, but her eyes couldn't hide this strange nervousness that swept over her at the presence of that bird. Not bothering to question him like he was with her, she nodded her acceptance and gave him a small kiss, silencing any more of his interrogation, before she slipped from the bath and went to get dressed. Following her lead, he too left the comfort of the bath, but not before staring down the winged visitor, the magnificent beast regarding him as well, with a look of wariness and rivalry; the two dangerous predators taking stock of each other. Finally the bird bowed its head, not a sign of capitulation but giving the respect due to a fellow warrior, and it took off, screaming and flying into the sky.

P P P

A short and silence flight later, he speeding across the waters surface, she gliding through the air, they arrived on the main land, the unspoken tension that the bird's visit had wrought was still heavy between them. Not giving her an explanation or an excuse, he simply said he had to visit an old companion in Mycenae, chuckling lightly as her eyes almost burned red with her rage, he quickly calmed her anger with a kiss, taking away her breath and fight for a moment. Stupid woman, he had affectionately said, as if I would be looking for more after being in your bed, I'm going out to seek an old friend, or maybe guide might be a better term, an old wise woman of the temple of Hestia. Satisfied with his answer as much as she would allow herself to, she didn't press the issue, knowing that if she did, he would inquire again about the eagle and her sudden reaction to it. Taking the last liberty she could with him before the fear of prying eyes made her pull back, she kissed his cheek and sped off into the forest; Zeus help any that stood in her way.

Had the circumstances been different, had he returned victorious with an arrow or a skin, he would have entered the city from the main entrance, his trophy held high and him yelling out this achievement to any in ear shot. But in the end his triumphant return home consisted of him slipping through the main entrance of the city, and though he walked with pride, it was a silent march, keeping as much attention off himself as possible. What could he say to his comrades, he had not one skin to show them, no physical prise greater than a roof over his head and a soft body to sleep next to his, and he gave his oath of honour never to reveal that. Better it was, for them to think him dead in combat, or already inducted into the realm of the Gods', than a warrior who failed when the greatest prise of all was before him. Mycenae had changed greatly since he had left, the city rebuilt and prosperous, though the hold of the Nemaen military still hung over the polis; another matter he could discuss with the old oracle. Walking up the temple steps, he by-passed all the worshippers and temple priestesses, pointed ignoring them as they tried to stop him from getting farther into the temple. Giving a glance to one of the woman whose life he spared that day, he was soon being lead down a winding corridor towards the very heart of the building, slowly by slowly the smell of incense, melted candle wax and various spices filled his nose.

"Ah, Vegeta, I've been expecting you." Babba said as he was presented to her, the tiny witch surrounded by candles with various scryving devices before her. Taking the offered seat, he stared down the little woman, the two of them in their own competition of sorts, it was soon interrupted as he was presented with a goblet of wine.

"Yes, I'm sure you have been expecting me, though I'm still not wholly impressed by your so called sight."

"Oh, and are you not now living on the isle of Delos, and keeping the highest of company in the most unlikely circumstances?" Suddenly thankful for the low light of the room, it was by sheer determination alone that he didn't let his shock play upon his face, but even then, she knew, he knew she knew, she seemed to everything about him.

"I think you are beginning to change your mind; but there is much that we must discuss, son of Poseidon, very much to discuss."

¦ ` ¦

The sun had long ago descended into the horizon before Vegeta left the temple and the odd company of women that it housed, wondering, of all things, how he would make it back to Delos, and if his nymph would be waiting for him when he returned. The night was pit black, every home but the temple shut up tight, their curtains drawn to keep out the dark, only the light of the crescent moon to guide his way. Hmph, his destiny was no more lighted for him than his path tonight, Babba and he had spoken from when he had walked into the temple to now, the oracle revealing many things, but all of them he already knew, nothing of his true fate, only that it was sealed. Your destiny has already been written out, your way forged, never are you to reach Olympus, but you have begun to move in the right direction; what was that supposed to mean? Only one assurance kept his anger completely at bay, and allowed him to leave with no great question answered but his mind somewhat appeased: you have saved yourself the most cruel fate, and your reward would come in the stars. What was that supposed to mean, but that he had saved himself from even a more cruel fate was a comfort, of course had he saved himself, or had she? Sighing, he remembered the man he had been when he first entered his city, met with that old, withered oracle; of course in many ways, she pointed to him, he had not changed at all. He was still stubborn, arrogant, ruthless when the need was there, a brilliant fighter, a man to be feared, but a piece of who he was was gone, though he couldn't hardly truly miss it, he couldn't even remember what it was. Walking towards the city gates, he decided to return to Delos, there were no answers here, not of the kind he was seeking.

Taking in the noises and happenings of the night, Vegeta found himself tensing up, his skin burning as if something or someone was watching him, a feeling of dread and coming chaos like he had felt only once before in his life washing over him. Merope; it must be two months since he had given her any thought, or his blinding, the mention of the event now still stinging his pride. How he had railed at the world for her crimes, at all women, simply because they shared the same gender as her, his once growing infatuation with the woman turning into the truest of hate. What is the true nature of woman Bulma had asked him the night before, what kind of answer would he have given back then, they were devious, spiteful, cruel, the downfall of all men, driven only by their lusts and malevolence. Now though, he couldn't even answer that question, it had all been put to its ear, all by the woman who would have answered the same if it had have been the nature of men instead of women. Remembering that she had not answered his own examination, he wondered what reply she would give him now, if she too was caught in the grips of uncertainty with a former absolute truth. Maybe when he got home, he would force an answer out of her, or; he didn't get the chance to finish his thought as a loud curse echoed on the night air, a small frantic cry following quickly on the win.

"No, please, leave me alone, I'm a child of Hestia, you can't do this, stop." Not giving a care to what or why he simply did, stalking closer and closer to the source of the cries, his feet leading him to the opening of a dark alley. Even in the low light of the moon his keen eyes took in the scene with disgust, a young woman, her robes plainly of the temple was fighting off an attacker, a soldier, the solider from so long ago.

"Shut up, you fucking little bitch, do you really think that mumbo jumbo about the wrath of the goddesses means anything. If they were here, why aren't they stopping me?" The malicious laugh bouncing off the towering walls around them, the woman still trying to get him to stop, terrified by the foreign hands on her body and the threat of the unimaginable pain and shame they presented to her.

"I suggest you let the woman go, unless of course you wish for the wrath of the goddesses upon you. Considering that a lashing didn't teach you the first time, maybe a far more imaginative punishment should be given." He finally spoke out, his own voice sounding so dark and confident, the sudden appearance of another person causing both the victim and attacker to almost jump in shock. Turning away from the wall he had used to hold the struggling girl against, the lowly soldier stared at his challenge with a look of complete rage in his eyes, two month had not dulled his hatred of the demigod. Throwing the girl up against the wall, he rounded on Vegeta, the smell of alcohol and lust heavy on the angered man, he couldn't even take the girl without the need for false courage, truly a pathetic being. Not moving from his usual stance, his arms crossed over his chest, he waited for the man to begin his attack and run at him, a small knife that he used to threat the girl now aimed for the demigod’s throat. Holding himself with smug superiority, hardly moving until the drunken soldier was only a foot away, and then springing forward to attack. Moving with athletic grace, the man hardly saw the move, until he collapsed in pain, one swift punch to the stomach almost knocking him out, hurtling the would be rapist to the ground.

"Fucking bastard you are, Vegeta, at least I didn’t go off to face the gods and come back with my tail between my legs; did she make you beg for mercy, monkey?" Growling out in rage at the human’s comment, he showed no mercy as he kicked the helpless figure against the wall, his body hitting the stone with a sickening thud, and several snaps as his ribs splintered like kindling. No other sound or sensation existed for him as he thought of nothing more than happily beating the man to a pulp; and he would have, if a stern voice hadn’t stilled his hand. Standing there, so solemn and graceful, it wasn't often that he saw the true goddess behind his beautiful lover, his eyes, and that of the shuttering woman in the alley glued to her form as she glided to the ground.

"Vegeta, stop, he isn’t a threat any more; just leave him, he will be sorry enough in the morning." She said as her feet touched down with the softest of thuds, even in the inky blackness of the night she seemed to glow with this warm light all her own, much like the moon above. Smiling lightly over at him, her eyes looked so sad, so at odds with that lovely face; almost as if she were thanking him for being there when she could not. It wasn't long though before she turned away her gaze, unable to take the scrutiny of his own and she walked over the huddled form of the frightened woman, taking the priestess in her arms and soothing her calming words. Taking in the heart wrenching scene with his typical stoicism, his eyes soon darted downwards as a low gurgle came from the downed man's mouth, though he was still alive, the bastard was in pain. Unlike what Bulma thought, he would attack again, it was delaying the inevitable allowing him to live, and with a mere flick of his wrist, he broke the man's neck before returning his attention to the two woman. He almost breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Bulma's back was turned to him and the deed he had just committed, never wanting her to think about what horrors his hands had done. Still the girl wept, her words so nonsensical, he might have smiled, if the circumstances had not been so grave.

"Please, calm yourself, the man has been stopped, there is nothing to worry about now, go back to the temple and give worship to Hestia for her grace upon you. Your faith has saved you, my child." Without another word, the girl left, the shock of being attacked and saved by the very goddess Bulma almost too much for her mind to take. Watching the girl go, but not before she thanked him as well for his help, the two of them were soon alone in the alley, her back still turned from him, neither speaking to the other for several minutes.

"You certainly do have timing, don't you, little nymph; heaven help that woman if she thought she would get such sympathy from me."

"I would have been consoling her dead form it you had not been here, with all of my divine abilities I can't even protect one pure loyal servant of Hestia's order, I cannot even keep myself pure." At the very last he had heard it, the broken voice unable to even speak the words must have been tearing her apart. Not giving into the emotionalism of his youthful infatuations, he merely walked up to her, the edge of his crossed arms brushing against her back. Sighing at his touch, she turned to face him, her eyes shiny with unshed tears as she eased herself into his arms, this limbs slowly drawing her against him. They stood that way for but a moment, before she whispered to him her plea to return to their island sanctuary, to Delos. Raising her up with the energy he had just begun to learn how to manipulate, the pair flew through the night back towards the coast, leaving the alley empty of nothing but the moon light, and a single pair of glowing red eyes.

P P P

The hallowed halls of Mount Olympus were alive with laughter, music, conversation, all the gods of the upper reaches and of those below had gathered upon the Mount by request of Zeus himself, all that is, except one, and her name was on everyone's lips. The unforgettable visit and exit she engaged in last time had not completely dulled from everyone's memory and her pointed absence lead many of the divine to ask themselves, where was Bulma?

"Maybe she just decided to turn tail and run, or leave home and never return?"

"Aphrodite could wish, heck, we all could wish."

"Are you kidding, can you honestly not say that those fights weren't the most exciting thing to happen here since Hera tried to fry Zeus for infidelity?" The tiny snippets of conversation flooded everyone's ears, every possible rumour, gossip of innuendo was given that she ran away, she found a way to give up her godhood, had left to join the pantheon of another religion, or that she was plying for Zeus' position herself. All the while the second woman in the centre of the controversy stood near the front of the room, goblet of ambrosia in hand, contented and wicked smile upon her face, and the shadow of the mischievous Strife behind her. The two seemed gripped in a deep conversation, one most pleasing to Aphrodite's ears, with every second that went by her smile widened even more, until it spread across her face.

"Crying into the arms of a man, how utterly mortal, and so completely against every ethic and moral that little prude holds herself up to, and to embrace him in public, with such familiarity, of course a man like Vegeta I might understand. Beautiful creature is he not, Strife; when this whole mess is over, I may wish to take him as a consort, Aries certainly isn't cutting anymore, and it's not as if Bulma will have no use for him. Oh, you have been most invaluable, Strife, any favour or gift that you may ever need that is in my power to give you shall have it."

"I think of only serving you, Aphrodite. When will you be announcing Bulma's fall from grace?" Strife replied, her harsh voice spoken with an overly sweet and graceful tone; it was both a lie and they knew it but at that time it didn't matter, they both achieved their end.

"Not yet, oh not yet, even that little bitch can't ignore summons forever, when she returns I'll play my hand, until then I'll lull her into a false sense of security, who would have though the most virgin Bulma would give herself to Poseidon's bastard son. To think, that wonderful defence in the name of celibacy and she tosses it all for one gorgeous face and a hot body? Now, this victory will be sweetest if savoured, and I mean to make her suffer. Now go, I wish to enjoy the party and I can't do that with the likes of you by me. Oh, this is a very good day." Aphrodite crooned, not even looking Strife in the eye as she dismissed her like a servant, her violet eyes levelled at the other side of the room and into the mahogany depths of her only other rival.

Chichi stared back at the too happy love goddess with disgust and a fragment of dread, she just looked too happy for her own good, and the look in those eyes did nothing to inspire comfort. Shooting off one last glance of contempt and antipathy, she quickly ended the cross room staring contest, but not with getting the distinct feeling in her gut that something was wrong, and it had something to do with the name on everyone's lips. She knew the rumours would pass soon, they had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, the fire starting to burn itself out of this one, but that still didn't mean that the questions raised weren't valid. It had been near to two months since Chichi had seen her last, and was reportedly given the summons for this gathering by Zeus' own eagle. But there was no sign of her, every one of her mortal homes and dwellings empty, no follower or nymph knowing where she was, or willing to reveal it. Something was going on, something strange, and something that Aphrodite knew more about than she did, Chichi suspected. That still didn't answer her original question: whe…

"Where is Bulma?" She could have jumped a foot when that warm masculine voice touched her ears, completely unexpectedly, the sound itself still sending goose bumps up and down her skin. Turning back, the hard expression on her face softened as the look of genuine concern across Goku's brow and she didn't even make a fuss about the fact that he didn't address her with the proper hello. There was something different about him as well, he was still as handsome and built as ever, but there was a sullen look in his eyes, one that said he was yet to make peace with his sister. Not being able to show any physical comfort to him, she tried to soothe him with her words.

"I don't know, I haven't heard a report or sighting of your sister since she left us two months ago, maybe she just needs her peace, it hurt her more than you could know to have you of all people condemn her." He looked to be on the edge of answering back, or defending himself but instead he stayed his hand, it was not a time for blame but forgiveness, if he could ever find his sister again.

"I think I might know where to find her, the island of our birth is still greatly loyal to us and our mother, it's always been a sanctuary for both her and mom, I just want to check there, just, just to make sure. Besides, it might be nice to drop out of sight for a while as well; would you care to join me?" Goku said in jest, but for the briefest of seconds, his eyes glowed with a sincerity that almost made Chichi blush, like he was inviting her to go away with him. While every voice in her head told her no, one was crying out in acceptance, wanting something from him that she couldn't have, was never to have with him or any man, and in the end, it was that part of herself that won out.

"That you would ever make such a jest to me, you're lucky I don't have a weapon or I'd show you … "

"Please, please, or great and wise Mistress Chichi, I get the idea, but you will pardon me if I leave you so soon, but I have a hunt to begin." Goku replied, his voice kind-heartedly mocking her, as was his over exaggerated bow. Giving him the same little smile she had flashed when he had first arrived, she watched him slip out the door and take flight, trying not to think about what might have been.

¦ ` ¦

Growling at the errant beam of sunlight that seemed to delight in annoying him alone, Vegeta slowly woke to his warm bed, and the soft drowsy body pressed closely against his, a slow smirk spreading over his face at the sight. They hadn't talked the whole night before, had not even engaged in their usual nightly spar, an unspoken understanding growing between them that said 'not tonight', the two of them merely stripping off their clothes and falling asleep in each other's arms. Even now, it was hard for Vegeta to admit how satisfying that simple act had been, a peace he had never known coming over him at the prospect of being able to just hold her close with no fear or anxiety. But now, watching her there, so vulnerable and trusting in his arms, he couldn't help but want to touch her, soothe her sadness over the attack. Not a word of it was spoken after they left the alley, but still Vegeta knew the whole affair was greatly affecting his little nymph, he seemed to be able to read her moods better every day. Kissing her shoulder, he was rewarded with a light groan and a sleepy yawn as she began to awaken, a wicked thought entering his head. Working his way down her body, he let his mouth play with her breasts, all the while his hand began to wander downwards skimming over her entrance. A hitched breath from the woman next to him showed that his touch had made its mark and was well appreciated, but he was not going to leave her so easily. Working her up to a slow arousal with his mouth on her breasts and neck, his hand over her womanhood, he finally began to slid down her, stopping himself at the junction of her thighs and blowing over her moist flesh. Giving her no preamble or warning, he began to tease her again, his time with his tongue, taking in her sweet taste and the screams of delight that his touch brought to her. And only his touch, he thought with a smirk, pulling away when he felt her body begin to reach its peak, kissing her thighs and purring against her skin.

"So this is the sweet nectar of the gods' then?" He asked her, knowing that she was probably beyond speech. About to go in for another taste, he stopped himself, straightening up so that he was standing; there was something out there, he could hear it, sense it, and whatever it was it was male. As much as he wanted to continue, he had to find the other male, this intruder to his territory, the primal urge to protect one's home and mate overwhelming even his physical desire.

"Please, Vegeta, come back; please don't stop." Bulma huskily pleading, reminding him of the state he was now leaving her in. Giving her a soft kiss on the mouth, he let his fingers bring her to her peak, watching as she fell into ecstasy before he threw on some clothes and went out to meet his opponent. Expecting to make a chase of it, of hunting the unfortunate bastard down and getting the satisfaction of a good kill that he did not with the soldier the night before, the demigod nearly gasped in shock at how close the enemy male was to the temple, and who they really were. There, standing at the bottom of the temple steps in full armour, his body and hair glowing like the sun and turquoise eyes staring up in complete disbelief was Goku, the god of the sun, and Bulma's brother. He was sure at that moment that his own expression must have been identical to the sun god himself, imagining the shock that must be going through the god's mind to see an unknown man walking out of his sister's temple, and smelling very distinctly of her. Watching his eyes, he saw the disbelief turn into speculation, speculation turn into rage, rage turn to murder.

"You bastard, how dare you touch my sister!!!" Goku screamed at the top of his lungs, the sound echoing throughout the whole island, every animal crying out with him as the air fairly exploded around them. He hardly had a chance to put up a defence when Goku was on him, screaming and swinging like a madman hunting for blood, his blood. They went back and forth for several minutes, Vegeta not backing down and Goku not giving an inch, the reasons for this fight highly personal and utterly chauvinistic and the two men fought each other touch and nail. From an observer’s stand point the match would almost look even, but the two participants knew it was very different, while Goku’s energy was an infinite as the sun, Vegeta’s was far more limited, and it wasn’t long before the demigod cried out in pain as his arm was shattered with one mighty kick. Damn it, Vegeta growled to himself, even with his own inhuman strength and the improvement of his skills through his months of training with Bulma, he was still no match for the full blooded, rather enraged god. Backing up enough to put some distance between himself and Goku, he could at least smirk at the small trickling of blood down the side of his mouth, at least he had drawn blood and made the bastard feel pain. Not that it would really matter, he groaned, nursing his arm, Goku was the god of the healing arts and already every cut and bruise that Vegeta had inflicted on him was quickly disappearing. Trying to catch his breath, he watched stony faced as a tiny ball of light formed in those golden hands, the look in the turquoise eyes promising pure murder, both men knowing that it was the end. Damn it, Vegeta growled to himself, he wasn't strong enough, fast enough, on par with Goku at all, even after all the trials and triumphs he still wasn't good enough to fight with the gods. It was prophetic, the death of his dream, the realisation of his hopes for Olympus dying with his physical death, this crime, aiming too high and being fond unworthy, for daring to take what was never to be touched. Was this the end that the oracle talked of; damn it, if he ever met these fates he was going to give them a good slap on the head, getting fired by a vengeful god was no great honourable death, and it certainly didn't earn him more than a one way ticket to Hades.

"I don't know what you are doing here, or what you have to do with my sister's disappearance but I can promise you, you will pay dearly for your arrogance, mortal; to think that you could step foot on Delos and be allowed to live." Not bothering to close his eyes, Vegeta didn't reply, too caught up in his own self hatred to care, too weak to mount any sort of defence against the attack. Praying that it would come quickly, he gave out last thought to the woman probably sleeping in the temple, oddly glad that she could not see his defeat. Clutching the fireball in his hand, Goku was ready to strike down this intruder to his mother's island, his burning curiosity as to why this man was here, and any connection he might have to his sister was overshadowed by his need to kill. Bulma's last words still echoed through his head, almost as strongly as the last time they had spoken, never in his life had they been on bad terms for so long, the loss of his beloved sister making him ferocious and this rather unfortunate man would bear the blunt of his rage. Aiming his hand towards the man's head; good, Goku thought, the man did not look away, he deserve the honourable death that would come at the hands of a god, and preparing himself to fire, he didn't even see the attack coming. A flash of silver past by his eyes and suddenly the world was filled with sharp, stabbing pain, centred in his arm and he cried out, losing his fire ball. Looking down at his arm, he almost trembled not with any sort of physical pain but of the most emotional, a single silver arm had pierced him through the arm, and looking towards its origin, the all powerful god nearly wept. There, standing clothed in nothing but a silken sheet, her hair tousled about her head, cheeks flushed, lips red and swollen, blue eyes clouded with anger and lust stood his sister, bow in hand and another arrow at the ready for his head.

"Bulma, what are you doing, who is this man, where have you been, put down that bow and speak to me." She didn't even flinch as he began to yell at her, her eyes still boring into him, not even focusing on the mortal man watching the proceedings.

"Leave, Goku, you have no right to be here and you have no right to attack him, but if you dare try to strike him again, I'll strike first, and you know I never miss."

"Bulma! What is the matter with you, you actually ignored a summons by Zeus himself, did you think that no one would notice, that they would not talk, but I never believed it could be anything as bad as this. What has happened to you, what has he done to you, he is trespassing on sacred ground. Look at him, Bulma, he is nothing but a worthless mortal, and you are sacrificing everything for him." She then did turn to the dark skinned man, who face and hair was an exact copy of the god Poseidon and immediately she threw aside her weapons and ran to the injured man's side. Goku couldn't even think as his sister, his man hating, chaste, hard lined sister cradled the man's body against her own, and kissed every visible wound on the man's body before taking his lips in her own. No, this wasn't possibly, not her, not his sister, not this man, Zeus no, what was she doing?

"I do not care what the gods think, I do not care what you think, but I promise you, so highly vaulted guardian of the sun, that if you do not leave I will hunt you down and my arrow will not miss. You will not return, you will not speak of this, and you will not harm a hair on his head, swear to me on your honour, Goku, as one god to another."

"Bulma … "

"Swear it, I will never speak to you again, never acknowledge your presence, if you do not do this for me."

"I swear that I will never speak of this day, to see my beautiful sister give herself away to some god's bastard, that she could be no worse than Aphrodite herself is not a thought I would ever want to contemplate again. Good bye, Bulma." He replied at last, his expression as impassive as stone but at the end he faltered, the emotion becoming more than even he could take. Not giving her a backwards glance, he flew up through the canopy of leaves and into the brilliant morning sky, even his invincible strength he could not fight back the emotion that was sweeping over him.

Staring at the retreating figure as they disappeared in the sky above, Bulma allowed one small tear to pass her eye as well, the memory of her beloved brother again ravaged by her stubbornness and his own. But she could not let it destroy her, she had to stop him or he would have killed Vegeta, by the fates, Vegeta, she realised, remembering suddenly the agonising pain he must be in.

"Are you badly hurt, please, do not hate my brother, he is so thoughtless when his family is concerned, I'm so sorry I could not stop him before this." Expecting his rage or his hatred, she was instead met by a soft chuckle, and his one good arm wrapping around her waist, pulling her closer to him.

"How can I hate a man who cares so much for your safety, though how he could ever think I could do you harm I will never know. Besides, little nymph, I would gladly suffer that beating again if I could see the look on his face when you struck him with that arrow, or when he saw you with nothing but that sheet." Saying the last part in a low growl, Bulma almost gasped as she felt his one good arm slipping through the openings in the sheet and began to knead her warm flesh, her knees going weak. What was wrong with her, she had just fired at her brother, thrown him out of her life, possibly for good, and all for this one man. What he had done to her, in only two months, what was he doing to her now? She couldn't even describe it all, what it felt like to be in his arms, to know that her touch gave him pleasure, to gladly suffer injury and lose herself to protect him.

"You may suffer another one if you don't stop that, let me go to the healing spring and get some water for your wounds, then we can do something relaxing, I wouldn't want to over tire you." He didn't answer her, but smirked with that completely sinful look on his face that made her want to smack him and kiss him all at the same time. What are you doing to me, Vegeta, she asked herself as she hurried into the temple to change and grab a vessel for the water, and could I even stop you if I tried?

P P P

Lazing under the bower of a cypress tree, taking in the lapping sound of the rushing river and the various sounds, the two lovers sat, enjoy the simple beauty and time that they could. Outside of this scene there was the distinct feeling that the world was pushing in, the chaos of everything else slowly coming upon them, but there was peace for them on this island, and they would enjoy the now for as long as they could. Stretching out against the base of the tree, Vegeta fingered the soft hair of the drowsing woman beside him, giving her a smile that he couldn't if she were awake. When she said taking it easy she hadn't been kidding, as soon as his name was healed she asked him to walk with her, just to walk about Delos, the mood before dying with her brother's intrusion. Now, there was something more than that, he had seen it in her eyes, as if she was suddenly at war with everything and herself and she needed to take on the silent battle within herself, make right that which was now wrong. He knew what it had cost her to say those things to her brother, of that she could not hide her pain, but there was more, the words he had said, about comparing her to the goddess of love, as if it were an insult, but maybe to her it was. He had given thought to what their relationship was costing, but the confrontation today once hit it home, it was more than just her high prised chastity, it was her very honour, her pride, possibly even her very godhood, and he … . What could he ever give to her, what made her attack her own brother, to cause herself so much pain for his benefit alone, what was happening to them, this extraordinary existence begun out of a mistake and a shared residence was turning into something he couldn't imagine.

At least I didn’t go off to face the gods and come back with my tail between my legs, those words from the night before still bouncing around in his mind; wasn't that what he had originally come here to do, to face the gods, or goddess. He was supposed to prove himself the greatest hunter, come back with the hide of one of Bulma's beasts, or an arrow from the goddess herself. He was supposed to be amongst the gods, winning back his father's respect, but instead, he had become a virgin goddess' lover, and he could never tell a soul, what was he thinking, what of his pride. Looking over at the quiver of arrows near Bulma's turned back, he knew it would be nothing for him to simply take one as proof of his triumph, no one would ever know, Bulma would never speak against him, not to reveal how he came into possession of the arrow. This was what he always wanted, this relationship was just a diversion and it was growing too strong, too fast and too dangerous, what mattered more to him, his life or a woman. He knew, in every conscious part of his mind he should grab the arrow and leave, she would never know, but his body would not move, his arms stayed around her waist and his eyes became glued to her sleeping figure. Oblivious to his eyes upon her, the woman sighed and cooed against his shoulder, nuzzling her head deeper into his chest and the demigod actually smiled at her innocent action. No, he thought, it was too late for him, the change happening long ago, it was only now that it was truly coming out, he wasn't falling, he had fallen, taken a wound that would never heal. Sliding himself down so that he was laying on the warm, sweet grass, he allowed himself to slip into sleep next to her, the injury to his shoulder now exhausting him. Kissing the curve of her forehead, he smirked again as she murmured at his touch, curling into him like she belonged there; somehow he knew then that he had just dug his own grave, but never could he imagine a sweeter death.

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Chapter 1
Chapter 3